Written by Justine Dhollande
It’s 2020, and the notion of coworking is not only a known and accepted concept, but also a desired space to work at and be part of, provided the space respects proper social distancing and Health & Safety protocols in this COVID-19 era. The idea of working with other professionals in different industries, gives individuals the opportunity to collaborate with people of a variety of backgrounds, talents, and knowledge. This presents an opportunity to learn from others outside of your workplace bubble. But what if your workplace is located in a resort town, such as Lake Tahoe, NV?
Do the distractions of the glorious outdoors, outweigh the ability to be effective in your work?
I asked a couple members of the local coworking space here in South Lake Tahoe, Cowork Tahoe, what they thought about balancing work vs. play in a year-round playground.
“Cowork Tahoe has been essential to my success as a remote employee and as a member of the South Lake Tahoe community,” says Jenna. She is a product manager at Adobe, who spends 2-3 days a week at Cowork Tahoe. This allows her to get out of the house, socialize, and spend concentrated hours working on projects. “Before I began coworking,” she explains, “I found myself isolated, spending time outside on my bike or snowboard and then in my home office accompanied by my dog, slack, and whomever I may be video conferencing with. There were two things that were big challenges in this method of work: I was easily distracted around the house when I needed to do deep-focus work, and I was not getting enough social interaction.”
For Jenna, distractions came easy in her home, but when asked if she found distractions in a coworking place, she replied: “Cowork gives me the best of both worlds, but it is still up to me to be productive.” Jenna has found a good work and social balance, where she can position herself in the common area and join conversations, or take video conferences in meeting rooms for a higher level of professionalism.
Distractions are a real possibility when working in a resort town
Another Cowork Tahoe member, Stephanie, describes her experience working in a resort town. “Living in a resort town has kept me happy as an employee and prevented burnout that’s so common in the busy city,” she says. “It’s a place where I can focus and get work done, but also network with peers in the open office setting.” Similar to Jenna, Stephanie found that working solely from home became monotonous and reclusive. “You forget how to talk to people sometimes,” she points out.
“It requires a firm amount of discipline and finding ways to stay motivated that work for you,” says Stephanie. The flexibility, however, makes her schedule manageable, being a Machine Learning Engineer at General Dynamics. “Because I write software, my mind is usually thinking hard almost 100% of the time.” She explains that by working at Cowork Tahoe, she can work in 2-3 hour sessions and incorporate mental breaks, such as laundry, walking her dog, or even skiing in between these work sessions. “Last winter, I went skiing in the mornings for two hours twice a week and did my work in the afternoons/evenings. The possibilities for play are endless in the summer. I would start work at the crack of dawn and end early to take advantage of the extra afternoon sunlight,” showing the benefit of flexible working in a year round recreation town.
The perfect work-play balance
My take you ask? I totally recommend it. Being able to work in a beautiful place in the world, and ski for an hour or two prior to work, or cruise a sunset mountain bike session after 5pm in the summer, gives me the perfect work vs. play balance. I may make up for it by managing emails late into the night, but it’s all worth it. The draw is not only the convenience and accessibility of the outdoors, but also the fact that I am lucky enough to breathe fresh air daily, and take a break to watch the snow fall outside my window, or the sun shine through the massive pine trees surrounding me. All of this combined makes me happier, healthier, and overall more productive and willing to produce my best efforts at work. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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